April 15, 2011

“Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live?  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His Holiness.”

Hebrews 12:9-10

When we realize it’s always “for our good and His Glory” (Rom. 8:28), we’ll not resent it or feel unloved.

“I’m doing this for your own good.”

How often one being punished hears those words from the one dispensing the discipline.  And, if that discipline is excessive. . .meted out by one in a fit of rage. . .it seems like anything but good or loving.

That’s why the anonymous author of Hebrews draws a contrasting parallel between an earthly father’s correction and that of the Heavenly Father.  He knew that sometimes an earthly father “chastened us after his own pleasure”—i.e., according to his own whim and notion.  Or, another way to put it is “As he thought best.”  However, there are times an earthly father will act in a heat of emotion and be excessive in his punishment.  That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote, “And, fathers, provoke not your children to wrath” (Eph. 6:4a); he knew such discipline did more damage than good because it incited resentment within the child rather than repentance.

But, the Heavenly Father never acts that way toward us.

His “correction” and “chastening” (both from the Grk. “paideuo”—“a trainer, teacher, educate, etc.”) are both for “instruction in the way of righteousness” (Prov. 8:20; 12:28; II Pet. 2:20-21) so we can be “partakers of His Holiness.”

Thus, our Lord never acts in a punitive or vindictive way; otherwise, He’d be little more than the “big Bully on the block.”

No, our Heavenly Father always act in a loving, redemptive way towards us—for the purpose of bringing us back into “the strait-and-narrow” or further “transforming our faith into 24-karat status” (I Pet. 1:6-7).

That’s why we should always say as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Thy will be done” (Mt. 26:42).  At the time we may not understand why we’re going through the things we are.  But, inwardly, we know “God is good” (Ps. 73:1) and has a purposeful Plan for our lives, which is good (Jer. 29:11).

We should always never forget His “correction and chastening” are intended to help us be “partakers of His Holiness,” which means “partners in the Christ-Life whereby we are vessels fit for His use” (II Tim. 2:21).  This can only happen when we render due “reverent respect” to Him and willingly live “in subjection (Grk. ‘hupotasso’—‘to subordinate, obey, submit to, place one’s self under the control of, etc.’) unto the Father of spirits.”  As the old Gospel song says, “Trust and obey, For there’s no other way, To be happy in Jesus, Than to trust and obey.”  Amen and amen.